Comment & Opinion

3 things we learned at Slush about VR, mobile and social gaming

VR, mobile and social gaming all big at Europe’s biggest startup conference

3 things we learned at Slush about VR, mobile and social gaming

One of Europe's leading startup conferences started with a right royal bang this year.

An opening show with pyrotechnics provided the bang, and The Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands were the royalty.

Yes, once again Helsinki opened its doors to 17,500 international visitors for the annual Slush investment event.

Industry connections

Slush brought 2,300 startups, 1,100 investors and 600 members of the media to Finland at the darkest time of year (November 30th to December 1st).

In its nine years the conference has grown from just 300 people to a massive gathering with fringe events, stage presentations and masses of innovative professionals seeking business opportunities.

The venue had six stages, one of which was reserved solely for pitching. The other five held panels and presentations.

It offered an ideal place to learn about the latest trends in the games industry, and you can find out what we learned by clicking on link below.

Click here to view the list »
  • 1 VR and AR are on the rise

    Although the games industry was there in force, the event wasn’t just about fun. All sorts of technical innovations were present, from health-tech to talking robots.

    Virtual and Augmented Reality has grown huge in 2016 and could be seen in the booths and stands throughout the venue.

    AR on the up

    Microsoft, for instance, was demoing the HoloLens, and the more affordable version from Mira Labs also made an appearance on Thursday.

    The Mira AR headset, due to launch on Kickstarter in 2017, is powered by the user’s iPhone and therefore its costs will be considerably lower.

    On the VR side, Virtual Traveller was one of the many apps being tested at Slush. The application offers 360-degree videos of different locations around the globe.

    The application itself is clearly still in progress, but it’s a neat idea for those too busy or broke to travel the globe.

    It also works on mobiles without a VR headset for a true economy travel experience.

  • 2 Developers are finding new ways for us to be social

    Social gaming was also an apparent trend and its power will clearly grow in the future if this Slush week was anything to judge by.

    The CEO of Rovio spin-off Hatch Entertainment, Juhani Honkala, announced a new ”Netflix-for-mobile gaming” service that’ll be adding more social aspects to the mobile ecosystem.

    He talked attendees through the process whereby a player can relinquish the controls to a friend when in need of some help, and also how to broadcast while playing.

    Hatching a plan for social

    According to Honkala, for game developers Hatch offers a way to distribute games without stressing over monetisation and in-game ads. It already has some mighty partners, like Huawei and TAITO Corporation.

    A more traditional method of multiplayer gaming hit Slush courtesy of the Nemesis platform, where casual gamers can beat up their friends, family and, presumably, foes in several different games - for free.

    It’s branded as the world’s only game agnostic, synchronous play, multi-territory, fully monetised tournament engine.

  • 3 There are lots of new games coming from Europe

    The winners of Game Development World Championships were announced on Wednesday 30th November on the Engine Room Stage.

    The contest gathered over 3,500 contestants and 800 games in two categories: Serious and Entertainment.

    New games

    The Serious category was won by a Polish game studio Jutsu Games and their emergency call centre simulator 911 Operator.

    In it, a player answers the calls and manages the crises. 911 Operator will be launched on mobile soon. The entertainment category was won by Beholder from Warm Lamp Games.

    The winning games were chosen by a judging panel of Finnish game industry experts, including Karoliina Korppoo from Colossal Order and Mikael Haveri of Housemarque.

    Of course, Slush also offered a mobile matching app to make appointments, areas for peaceful conversation, opportunities for head-hunting and investment discussion and more.

    For more information, visit the Slush website.